How To Laminate a Book's Dust Jacket

Laminating a book's dust jacket will protect it from damage and wearing, preserving its quality through the years. You can keep your favorite books intact by taking the effort to add a plastic layer around it.

Here are the steps to laminating a book's dust jacket:

What you need: laminating machine and laminate.

  • Layout all labels on the jacket. These labels will be preserved once the laminate is affixed on the jacket. Include reference numbers, return instructions and other identifying marks in case it is misplaced. Use home printers or sticker labels from an office supplies store.
  • Remove the dust jacket from the book. Spread it flat. Wipe it with a dry cloth to remove dust, fingerprints, grease and other particles, which may otherwise create a blemish on the jacket.
  • Insert the jacket into the laminate. The laminate must be big enough to contain the entire jacket. It must also be thin enough so that the jacket can be refolded over the book without cracking, unsealing or resisting. Remove any folds from the corners and align the jacket properly.
  • Trim the laminate to fit the jacket. Remove the excess plastic with a pair of scissors. If you need to use a cutter, use a metal ruler and a rubber mat to assist in the trimming without damaging the worktable. You may trim the laminate as it is fitted over the jacket, or use a marker and ruler for a more exact adjustment. Leave enough margins on all sides to prevent the laminate from opening up later from wear and tear.
  • Insert the jacket into the laminating machine. The heat produced by the machine will seal the laminate around the jacket. Make sure to set the correct setting on the control to create the proper temperature. It may take time for the jacket to completely pass through the heating element. You may need to repeat the operation to make certain the sealing is complete.
  • Consider protecting the jacket with cellophane and tape. If you don’t have access to a laminating machine or it is an inadequate size for your book jacket, consider covering the jacket in cellophane, instead. This old school technique has the added advantage of being replaceable, simply by removing the adhesive tape. However, cellophane may not be enough to protect a book when it is heavily used by different people and is subject to greater wear and tear than usual.
  • Consider going to a professional laminating store. Some bookstores and office supply shop have laminating services. Bring several books at the same time to save on time and effort. Take down the contact number of the store; they will already know your preferences so that your future transactions will go smoother and error-free. While it can get expensive if you possess multiple books, it's still cheaper than buying an actual laminating machine. However, if you continuously buy books, then purchasing your own machine may be viable and even practical.

A laminate cover will keep the book jacket pristine and protect it from moisture and weathering. However, you cannot remove the laminate without ruining the original jacket itself.


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